"The moral of the story is, I chose a half measure, when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter."
~ Mike Ehrmantraut, Breaking Bad
"Retooling". "Reloading". "Tweaking". Geoff Petrie has been playing with the Sacramento Kings' roster since 1994. They made the playoffs in 1995-1996, then missed for two consecutive years. This was followed by an eight-year run during which they made the playoffs every year, including a record of an astounding 40 games over .500 (61-21) in 2001-2002. The last year of the run was 2005-2006, and after the season, just like after every other season, Petrie vowed to get the Kings back into the playoffs.
All good things must come to an end, and with the 2006-2007 season came the end of the Kings' playoff run. Petrie attempted to give Bonzi Wells a reported six-year, $36 million deal, only to (THANKFULLY) be rejected. Instead, he signed John Salmons in free agency and drafted Quincy Douby. These moves were the beginning of a streak of questionable roster decisions that included:
- The trade of Chris Webber to the 76ers for Kenny Thomas and his albatross contract, plus Corliss Williamson and Brian Skinner
- A five-year, $30 million extension to bench swingman Francisco Garcia
- A three-year, $18 million free agent contract to 32-year old, non-rebounding power forward Mikki Moore
- The trade of Mike Bibby to the Hawks for Shelden Williams and a bunch of expiring contracts
- The trade of Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) to the Rockets for Bobby Jackson, Donte Greene, and the first-round pick that became Omri Casspi
- The trade of Brad Miller and John Salmons to Chicago for Andres Nocioni and filler
- The trade of Kevin Martin for, essentially, Carl Landry
- The heinous trade of the 7th overall pick in the 2011 draft and Beno Udrih for the 10th overall pick (which turned out to be Jimmer Fredette) and the John Salmons Comeback Tour
- The (too) early pickup of Keith Smart's 2012-2013 option in 2011-2012
- The (too) early pickup of Keith Smart's 2013-2014 option in 2012-2013
...among other moves. Some/most of these trades were salary dump trades, especially Webber, Bibby, Miller, and Salmons, but the salaries being dumped were from contracts Petrie handed out. The free agent signings were all Petrie. The Salmons/Jimmer deal was all Petrie. The (too) early extensions were all Petrie. Geoff made this mess.
This team kept taking half measures. Signing role players to big contracts. Drafting one-dimensional players with the hope of turning them into something more, such as the failed "Quincy Douby/Jimmer Fredette point guard" experiments, or trying to teach Tyreke Evans how to shoot. Ignoring the big picture.
Geoff Petrie has lived in a bubble for the past several years. The Kings haven't been over .500 for any of the past six years, and this season seems certain to become number seven. The roster is a mess...nobody knows their place in the rotation. Some players are good at nothing but dribble-drives. Some players are good at nothing but man-to-man defense. Some players are good at nothing...period. Sacramento's roster is a mismatched puzzle that has been carelessly thrown together by a GM that has clearly passed his expiration date.
It's pretty clear the Maloofs are too cheap to bother with this option, but it doesn't make it any less the right move. The roster has more holes than it ever has despite the multi-year rebuilding project. It's time to let someone else give being the Kings' general manager a shot.
The Kings need to stop letting Geoff Petrie tinker with his flawed creation. Letting Petrie continue to add and subtract inconsequential players while believing the ultimately-flawed nucleus of this team could become anything other than a perennial bottom-feeder is the very definition of a half measure. No more half measures...it's time for a full measure. It's time to fire Geoff Petrie.